New Zealand business confidence fell for a second month, with the agricultural sector remaining pessimistic about the general economic outlook and profits, while construction remained the most bullish.
A net 32 per cent of firms expect general business conditions to improve in the year ahead, according to the ANZ Business Outlook, down from 35 per cent in the March survey. Firms seeing a pickup in their own business activity in the year ahead fell to a net 30.3 per cent from 32.4 per cent.
Confidence is still above the historical average of plus 8 per cent, ANZ said.
Sentiment in agriculture actually improved in the latest survey, with a net 5.7 per cent of those polled seeing worse times ahead of the economy, an improvement from 9.9 per cent seeing harder times in the next 12 months in the March survey. Since then, rains across much of the country have alleviated some of the effects of drought.
A net 7.9 per cent of farm-related industries saw profits falling in the next 12 months, down from a net 33.4 per cent a month earlier.
The construction remained the most upbeat, with a net 54.5 per cent seeing a pickup in the economy in the year ahead and 51.5 per cent seeing an improvement in their own business. Residential construction was the most bullish. A net 40.6 per cent saw higher profits in the next 12 months.
Employment intentions remained strongest in the construction sector, with a net 25 per cent expecting to take on workers, down from 45.2 per cent a month earlier. Overall a net 9.5 per cent expected to hire more workers in the year ahead.
Inflation expectations were little changed at 2.31 per cent and pricing intentions slipped slightly to 20.5 per cent from 22.3 per cent expecting to raise prices in last month's survey.